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Very new at this
Carly1021
Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2021 8:03 PM
Joined: 6/27/2021
Posts: 1


My husband (61 years old) was diagnosed with stage 3 Alzheimer’s. I am not sure what that means. I have read symptoms, etc. I just don’t know what to expect. I have never had to be a care giver. Does anyone know what stage 3 means? What happens next? He knows me, his worst symptom is speech. Thank you for any help.
towhee
Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2021 9:31 PM
Joined: 10/6/2017
Posts: 186


Hi Carly, welcome to the boards. As you have just found out, doctors sometimes don't explain things very well, and you are going to be doing a lot of learning on your own. Terminology can be confusing. Most doctors use a three stage model and they will say a patients' illness is mild, moderate, or severe. Most caregivers use a 7 stage model where stage 3 is considered mild decline, where friends and family are just starting to notice changes. People are usually diagnosed around stage 4, somewhere between mild and moderate. Unfortunately the pattern of decline is different for each person. Some people have a form of dementia where the most noticeable problem is speech. For all people memory problems, while often very evident, are not as concerning as lack of judgement, which can lead to financial problems and dangerous situations (driving, cooking, etc.), sometimes long before anyone sees any other problems.

You can expect to have to take on responsibilities in areas where you might not have had to before, from financial to household maintenance. Your husband is only 61? Has he been working? Has anyone talked to you about getting him on disability? You will need a durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. If you have assets it is a good idea to consult an elder law attorney.

You will need to learn to take care of yourself, I recommend a book called The Caregiver Helpbook, Powerful Tools for Caregivers. 

Usual resources recommended here are a book titled the 36 Hour Day, an article available for free online titled Understanding the dementia experience, Teepa Snow videos on Youtube titled Making visits valuable, and Dementia Careblazers videos.

Keep reaching out, people will help.

 


Crushed
Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2021 9:42 PM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 6691


Welcome to our club, that no one wants to be in. 
My wife was "MCI"  at 58 and Alzheimer's at 60 that was 9 years ago. 
That is so called "young" or early onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD)

Please fill in your profile with ages, employment status for both of you, children

State of residence, How long you have been married and then we can get started.

Very nice folks here who have all been through the mill.

There are a wide variety of legal, financial , medical and personal issues.  We have all had all of them

We are here for you


Quilting brings calm
Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2021 9:56 PM
Joined: 10/16/2020
Posts: 505


If you scroll down thru several pages of threads on both the caregiver and the spouse forums, you will see other new people.  Comments on those threads will be helpful to you.  Lots of threads will be helpful to you just as a point of reference for the future. 

Look at the following site for stage information;  https://www.dementiacarecentral.com/aboutdementia/facts/stages/

People will caution you that most PWD ( person with dementia) exhibit behaviors from more than one stage though. 

Welcome to our little world.   Check back on your post for the next few days.  Sometimes people post a day or two later as they have time. 


Ed1937
Posted: Monday, June 28, 2021 1:23 AM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 4515


Carly, welcome to the forum. You will find a lot of help here. You already have some very good suggestions, but I'd like to add a link to help you understand dementia. http://www.dementiacarestrategies.com/12_pt_Understanding_the_Dementia_Experience.pdf  
Doityourselfer
Posted: Monday, June 28, 2021 7:31 AM
Joined: 9/5/2017
Posts: 866


Being a caregiver is one tough job.  Here's a site that might help you identify the 7 clinical stages of Alzheimers Disease : 

www.alzinfo.org/understand-alzheimers/clinical-stages-of-alzheimers

 


Crushed
Posted: Monday, June 28, 2021 10:19 AM
Joined: 2/2/2014
Posts: 6691


Doityourselfer wrote:

Being a caregiver is one tough job.  Here's a site that might help you identify the 7 clinical stages of Alzheimers Disease : 

www.alzinfo.org/understand-alzheimers/clinical-stages-of-alzheimers

 

Made a hotlink  

www.alzinfo.org/understand-alzheimers/clinical-stages-of-alzheimers


DJnAZ
Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 10:41 AM
Joined: 7/6/2021
Posts: 28


I am also new on this forum and at caregiving. My wife is 63 and has been diagnosed by a neurologist, after a CT and MRI, as having Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). At this point she has problems with language/speech and short term memory. A NP in the neurologists office said my wife is a 2 on the 7 level scale. That was five months ago and I think she is probably closer to 3 now.

Neurologists in this area appear to use the 7 stage measure. The seven stages are:

7 Stages of Alzheimer's Disease
  • Stage 1: Normal Outward Behavior.
  • Stage 2: Very Mild Changes.
  • Stage 3: Mild Decline.
  • Stage 4: Moderate Decline.
  • Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline.
  • Stage 6: Severe Decline.
  • Stage 7: Very Severe Decline.

She was prescribed memantine but after 3 months stopped taking it. Just as well...if there was any positive effect from the med it was minimal at best. And the side effects of weight gain and constipation offset the benefits in my wife's view. Our doctor agreed. 

So for now we are trying to get her insurance to approve further tests at Mayo Clinic's neurology practice. The necessary approval has not come through for her to go "out of network", but I'm cautiously optimistic. She definitely needs a complete evaluation. Perhaps then we can make more realistic plans for whatever the future has in store.

I've been on this forum less than a week and feel like I have received more information here than all of the doctor visits combined. It is a great resource.

 


Arrowhead
Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 2:35 PM
Joined: 7/17/2020
Posts: 151


My wife was also diagnosed at 61. That was 5 years ago. If you have not already done so, see a lawyer and get all of your legal work taken care of. Power of Attorney; Will, Medical Directive; HIPPA. Do that for both of you. We also set up a Trust. 

There are good books on the subject. Most of us would recommend The 36 Hour Day. 

Use these forums. There are a lot people with personal experiences who can help.

If your husband does the finances, begin watching him. You will need to take over some day.

Be prepared to lie. Sometimes the proper lie will be easier than the truth. 

Be prepared to do the unthinkable, like taking away car keys and credit cards. 

Get as much support as you can from family and friends. Don't try to do all of it on your own.

Be prepared for anything and everything. 

I also recommend keeping a journal. It can help you keep track of the progression of the disease. 


amicrazytoo
Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 6:08 PM
Joined: 1/12/2018
Posts: 412


See an Elder care law attorney. NOW, do not wait!
DJnAZ
Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:26 PM
Joined: 7/6/2021
Posts: 28


Durable Power of Attorney notarized today. Advanced health directive was already in place. And we have our larger assets, primarily real estate, in an LLC. My daughter is manager of the LLC and is the Attorney in Fact on the PoA. 

I have taken her credit cards and changed passwords on banking websites. I caught her yesterday trying to change the password on her Health Care dot Gov account, I have no idea why, but I had already changed it. Her health insurance account has been changed as well.

While I think we are fairly well covered, surprises seem to be an integral part of this living hell. 

 


Jemije
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 7:22 AM
Joined: 1/13/2021
Posts: 5


Hello. This is my first post, but I have been reading. I am 71 and my husband 75. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia about 7 months ago, although symptoms started several months prior to that. He is having more testing next week. It is likely mixed-Alz vd. I am a retired nurse practitioner. I have even worked in neurology. I thought I could handle this. Well, I am feeling overwhelmed. When it is someone you love, it is different. He is aware of his loss, depressed sometimes, wants to be with me constantly. Talks constantly. Poor judgement. I won’t go on. You know the story. We are in the independence vs dependence dance. He wants to do things I self but when he can’t gets upset. Hard to hand over to me. I feel like I have no solitude. I get up early just to have some peaceful moments. 

Everyone is different but I expect some of you recognize this. You have been very helpful to me. Ed, the article you posted on the way memory functions/disappears in this disease was terrific. Very helpful. The book that fits for me right now is Take Back Your Life:A Caregivers Guide to Finding Freedom in the Midst of Overwhelm. By Loren Gelberg-Goff. I have also been journaling. Helps me deal with my grief. 

Thank you. Jenelle

 

 

 

 

 


Cynbar
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 8:05 AM
Joined: 2/29/2020
Posts: 785


Carly and Jenelle -- welcome to our little group. Going forward you'll have times when you feel overwhelmed, and this is the place to come for advice and support. Amongst us, we've dealt with just about everything. Read all you can here, but remember that everyone's journey is different and not every problem will occur for you. There will be many challenges along the way, but the first thing to tackle is getting your legal and financial planning done. There was a recent poster who had put this off, and now her husband was too advanced to execute legal documents. It was a nightmare.  A certified elder law attorney will explain what documents are needed and also work with you on financial issues. Many (but not all) PWD do need placement at some point, and you need to understand Medicaid eligibility and how to protect at least some assets for yourself. Now is the time to do this --- if it seems premature to you, it's not.
ElaineD
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 9:16 AM
Joined: 4/12/2019
Posts: 360


Dear Janelle:

Welcome!

My DH turned 82 in May.  Looks like the picture of health...tall, slim, active. And has the same VD that his mother had, and his sister just died from at age 92.

DH doesn't have an 'official diagnosis' and refuses to talk about it with me.  But both sons started telling me 5 years ago that 'Dad is losing it'.   I didn't realize what was happening until we moved into Independent living two years ago.

DH is fiercely independent, still drives, just had a part in a 'radio play' in our community....and generally 'no one can tell' outside of family.  In the beginning he had  personality changes that increased his anger and negative behaviors, but he came 'out the other side' about two years ago, and he's much nicer, nicer than ever in our first 57 years of marriage (now married 59 years!).  He also has some loss of empathy, has some apathy, and clearly has lost a great deal of executive function.  But he still drives quite well, so he is my driver.  I had to stop driving 6 years ago.

But DH has progressively decreasing short term memory...and also has forgotten all the trips we took in the past 10 years (Italy, Germany, Ireland...all gone).   DH depends on me for keeping his calendar of medical appointments, play rehearsals, all calendar stuff.

We moved into an Independent Senior Living Community two years ago, not a minute too soon.  I am severely disabled, which was the reason for our move, but this is also the right place for him.  There are both Assisted Living and Memory Care facilities here.

My name is on all legal documents and bank and credit card accounts, and we no longer own any property.   In fact, I've always managed our finances.  Our financial advisor assured me that we cannot 'shelter assets' as they are all in 40lk accounts and the tax penalty for moving the money out of 40lk accounts would make the transfer to trusts and other accounts prohibitive.  

We each have LTC accounts which we can access as soon as one or both of us have lost at least 2 activities of daily life.   I would qualify now, but my husband is MY caretaker!   Yes, such an irony.  I'm physically disabled and he's rapidly becoming mentally disabled.   And I won't be physically able to be his caretaker once his needs require any physical assistance at all because I cannot stand without my walker.

We'll probably move into Assisted Living together!  There are even couples living together in our Memory Care facility, including a couple that moved into Independent living the same time we did, two years ago.    So we are surrounded by professional staff who can assist us as needed. 

Here is an example of how DH is losing it:

Last night he asked me to help him activate his LinkedIn account.  LinkedIn is a professional website that people often use for job searches.

I asked him why, since he's 82 and long retired.  He said "someone is trying to offer me a job".

He meant that he has had a 'scam e-mail or telephone call' telling him that there is a job offer for him, related to his LinkedIn account...he has NEVER used his account, and in fact almost never even checks his email.

It broke my heart to hear him say "someone is trying to offer me a job".   I said, I think it's a scam.  

He argued with me, and I made the mistake of persisting in trying to convince him that no one is offering him a job.  I know that you don't contradict someone with Dementia, or ask for explanations, you just calmly accept whatever is said, and try for deflection (change the subject) and distraction (offer another activity) and eventually hope that the topic will be forgotten.

But it was said to me as we were going to sleep, and I reverted to old (normal) discussion mode.

This is a long journey, and we learn as we go, with some backsliding on my part, to say the least!

Again, WELCOME Janelle.

elained 

 

 


ElaineD
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 12:49 PM
Joined: 4/12/2019
Posts: 360


Dear Ed,

Thanks so much for the link.  When I started to read it I noticed it was 27 pages long, and thought: Oh, this is too much.

Needless to say when I got to the end I wished there were MORE.  I loved every word of it.  Written with such sensible compassion.....and I know the article increased my own level of compassion and understanding for my husband, for everyone struggling with dementia themselves, and for their carers and family members.

This disease is horrible.

elained


Paris20
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 1:23 PM
Joined: 5/30/2019
Posts: 115


There’s no perfect way to deal with dementia. I think about that «joke.» If you’ve met one person with dementia, you’ve met one person. In other words, every individual is just that, one person whose disease will follow its own unique course despite the inevitable ending. Each case, each person, is different. Even in the same individual there are changes from one day to the next. As caregivers we can try our best. Sometimes what we do works. At other times, even something that worked today might not work tomorrow.

What’s most important is to be flexible and as knowledgeable as you can be about this horrible disease. Certain things are inevitable but symptoms may appear in a different order, especially at the beginning when we may not know what we’re seeing. Now that my husband is in the middle stage, I’m more aware of the subtle changes that may precede a more obvious, full-blown symptom of further decline. Sadly, Alzheimer’s worsens but we sometimes learn a few more ways to adapt. It’s never easy and your spouse won’t thank you, especially if he/she doesn’t understand or accept the condition (called anasognosia, which is not the same as denial). Coming to these forums has become a lifeline for many of us. I check-in every day now because I always learn something and I always find support.


Ed1937
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 6:05 PM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 4515


Jenelle, welcome to the forum. Sorry you meet the criteria to join our family. But I'm glad you found the link helpful.

Elaine, you said you want more. Glad you thought it was good. Here is a link to the book at Amazon. It is 200  pages, and is priced right. I haven't read the book, but I'm sure there is a lot of good information there. https://www.amazon.com/Thoughtful-Dementia-Care-Understanding-Experience/dp/1480007579/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Understanding+the+Dementia+Experience+by+Jennifer+Ghent-Fuller%2C+B.A.%2C+R.N.%2C+M.Sc.N&qid=1626994362&sr=8-1  


Newbernian
Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:41 AM
Joined: 3/27/2020
Posts: 17


I just read your post and was able to relate to a lot of it, particularly the independence/dependence dance.  My DH was always strong willed as was his father.  I am capable but have been beaten down so often in the past, I lack reserve to keep things going.  My father had ALZ and died 30 yrs. ago.  My mother was like a child during this process so I did double duty.  My DH was very supportive during this time.  I learned a lot about the process by observation.  Internet was not around, nor support groups.  I was on my own.We moved to a different state 7 yrs. ago.  I have no friends here.  Acquaintances but no one I can talk to about this.  The knowledge of the practicalities of this disease are not new to me but I am 69 and am physically, emotionally and financially drained.  My DH physical health is excellent.  He is 77 and has no health issues.  He could live to be 100 at this point.  He still drives if he knows where he is going.  I watch but see no reason to stop this function yet.  We live in a small town and he started his own lawn care business a few years ago.  It has helped bring in a little money but now he doesn't know how to fix his equipment.  I have tried to help with diagnosing issues.  I am skilled as a woman but there are some things I need to get help with and I don't know when to stop spending money because it may be more costly than it is worth.  It is very therapeutic for him so I try to be supportive.  I just wish I had some one to care for me. I have no children and a sister I was close to died suddenly two years ago.  Her husband and I surprisingly have found a connection through email but there isn't much of my issues with my husband I feel I can share.  Thank you to anyone who has cared to read this far.  I will try to get my hands on some of the above mentioned books and will continue to journal so I don't take up too much space venting here.  This has been my first post.  Warm Regards!
Stuck in the middle
Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 3:36 PM
Joined: 6/4/2017
Posts: 1367


Warm regards to you, Newbernian.
Jemije
Posted: Monday, July 26, 2021 9:47 AM
Joined: 1/13/2021
Posts: 5


Hello Newberian. You have been through so much. I can relate to much of your story. My husband & I moved to a small town to reduce cost of living before his diagnosis a few years ago. I know few people and never really felt at home here. I try to focus on the moment because thinking long-term or thinking about another move now is terrifying. He has very good healthcare, and he, too is in good health. Made an appointment with an attorney thanks to advice of people here. As with most of life, we are left to make decisions with too little information. I would be happy to chat with you in a chat room if you want. 

 


Jemije
Posted: Monday, July 26, 2021 10:57 AM
Joined: 1/13/2021
Posts: 5


Thank you Cynbar for the nudge to take care of the legal matters. I have made an appointment for us with an attorney. Good advice. I had been avoiding.
Jemije
Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2021 11:08 AM
Joined: 1/13/2021
Posts: 5


How do you cope, Virgil? I try to focus on the moment, as there is still much to enjoy there, for us. When I can’t stay focused on the present, anxiety creeps in.

Even though my husband is earlier, it is the slipping away-fading-that I hate. Losing him. Feeling it is all on me to keep us safe. 

 I am so sorry about the early onset and decline for your wife.


CheleInFl
Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2021 12:24 PM
Joined: 7/28/2021
Posts: 1


Hi, I am new here too. My husband was diagnosed about five years ago, he is 69 now. I too have to get up at 4 or 5 in the morning to get some quite time so I can meditate and journal. I also suffer from major depression disorder that I am just coming back from a major breakdown I had about two years ago. I know this is going to be a hard road for both of us. I'm glad I've finally been able to find somewhere I can share this with.
Jemije
Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2021 7:38 PM
Joined: 1/13/2021
Posts: 5


Hello CeleInFl. Sorry you are struggling with depression.. it is tough to be a caregiver with a partner slipping away, when you are dealing with your own painful issues. Your husband is young. It is hard to get our own needs met in the face of caregiving-at least I find it so. I have to focus on the moment.
Newbernian
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2021 1:01 PM
Joined: 3/27/2020
Posts: 17


Hello Jemije, I just saw your post.  Wished I would have seen it earlier,  Yes, would really enjoy talking in a chat room.  I have to figure out how to get there.  Do we pick a mutual date and time? 

We have an apt. tomorrow with an elder care lawyer who has a good reputation. We did do a will, advanced directives and medical POW right after he was first diagnosed but even though the lawyer was considered an eldercare lawyer I felt that he offered no additional advice than any lawyer would who handles wills.  Since then, I realized I was thinking that my health would remain to care for finances and legal issues.  Then I realized, I needed someone to take on these duties in case I couldn't.  This is the tough part.  Having no family to rely on nor close friends, so depending on any other suggestion by the lawyer, I will let the courts pick a guardian.

The only asset we have is the home we live in.  It is paid for but I don't know what I will do if I need to get outside help. We are living on SS benefits but I need to dip into small savings we have. So hopefully he can help with options.


 
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